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Hi list. Wonder if anyone might give some help on the claims made in the end of this bit re: stats. Andrew Shady Statistics: --- Has Iraq Hoodwinked Humanitarians? Asian Wall Street Journal; New York, N.Y.; Nov 7, 2001; By Keith Marsden; The head of the Church of England is now "agonizing" about the U.N.-mandated sanctions on Iraq. Writing in the Times of London Oct. 16, Archbishop George Carey claimed, "We have had 11 years of sanctions and there is no doubt that they bite. Unfortunately, they have bitten the wrong people. Those who have suffered most are ordinary Iraqis, especially the children." Meanwhile, a Swiss Quaker is even blunter. In a letter published by the Tribune de Geneve, he asserts: "The number of dead and missing in New York corresponds to the number of persons who die every fortnight in Iraq as a result of U.S. policies toward that country." Needless to say, Muslim clerics have expressed similar views. One can only marvel at the moral certitude that allows religious leaders to reverse the roles of victims and victimizers. The Iraq regime, after all, can only claim victim status for those with a very relativistic view of the world. Here is a by no means exhaustive list: Iraq brutally attacked two of its neighbors -- Iran and Kuwait. It gassed its own Kurdish citizens. U.N. inspectors discovered that Baghdad had "weaponized" anthrax and other germ agents into Scud missiles and bombs. And former chief U.N. arms inspector Richard Butler suspects it may have supplied the materials and/or know-how behind the second wave of terror now hitting the U.S. It is imperative therefore that the truth about the impact of sanctions on Iraq be established before Allied antiterrorist action is blocked on supposed humanitarian grounds. A good place to start when debunking the pro-Iraq nostrums is the source of the information that has aroused the concern of religious leaders and other critics of U.S. policies. It is none other than the Iraqi state propaganda machine. Iraq -- like Cuba, North Korea, Burma and Libya -- refuses to report basic economic data to the United Nations (a requirement of membership). The World Bank Atlas 2001 provides per capita income estimates and rankings for 207 countries and territories. But these five dictatorships are conspicuously absent. No information is published on Iraq's GDP growth rate, economic structure, investment, inflation rates, government expenditure, private consumption, current account balances or external debt. And Baghdad is no more forthcoming about social trends. The U.N. Human Development Report 2001 gives many social indicators for 162 countries, but none for Iraq. Considering Iraq's secrecy and lack of democratic accountability, little confidence can be placed in the data that the regime chooses to report to the U.N. Saddam Hussein has adopted a two-pronged strategy toward sanctions. The first is to deny the continued existence of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or of further development work in these areas. The second is to claim that ordinary Iraqis have suffered greatly, thus hoping to gain international support for lifting the sanctions. Yet the World Health Organization has given its seal of approval to the data fed to it by Iraq. A 1996 WHO report titled "The Health Conditions of the Population in Iraq Since the Gulf Crisis" (note, not war) painted such a dismal picture that the U.N. Security Council passed an Oil for Food and Medicines Resolution, even though these last two items had never been subject to sanctions. Notwithstanding the subsequent relaxation of controls over oil exports, a second WHO report submitted to an EU committee earlier this year said there had been little improvement in the health situation. A review of these WHO reports is revealing. The authors suspend all critical judgement and objectivity. They accept, reproduce and even embellish Iraqi government data, without any possibility of undertaking independent verification on a national scale. Yet data provided by other organs of the Iraqi government (whatever their motives) contradict their arguments. Before the international community takes further action on sanctions, the following discrepancies should be noted: -- Infant mortality rate. The 1996 WHO report said that compared with pre-war levels, the infant mortality rate had doubled. Its 2001 report cites a current IMR figure of 108 per 1000 live births. However, the latest World Bank estimates, also derived from Iraqi sources, show a slight fall in the IMR to 101 in 1999 from 102 in 1990. These figures are high, but are they believable in the light of other facts? -- Crude death rate. The WHO claims that there has been a widespread deterioration in health facilities and nutrition levels, having negative effects on most age and social groups in Iraq. Yet according to the World Bank, Iraq's crude death rate has dropped to 10 per 1,000 population in 1999, from 18 in 1965. It is now estimated to be the same as South Korea's, one of the world's most rapidly growing economies. The World Bank also says that Iraq has substantially more physicians and hospital beds per 1,000 people than Syria and Morocco, two countries of similar population size and income levels. -- Food supplies and nutrition. The WHO asserts: "The vast majority of the country's population has been on a semi-starvation diet for years." Perhaps, but how does WHO know? Iraq keeps its food consumption levels secret. WHO refers only to government food rations. Other studies have observed a rapid growth in food sales through private distribution channels. The FAO reports a doubling of both the cropped area and the proportion under irrigation (to 64%). Fertilizer usage quadrupled. -- Access to essential drugs. The WHO claims that: "Owing to the lack of financial resources from foreign-exchange earnings, the import of food and medicines has been restricted," and has left "Iraqi families and hospitals with no money to buy them." The World Bank reports an 85% rate for access to drugs in Iraq in 1997. This rate is defined as "the percentage of the population for which a minimum of 20 of the most essential drugs are continuously available and affordable at public or private health facilities or drug outlets within one kilometer of the dwelling." The Iraqi rate is above those for Syria (80%) and Malaysia (70%). -- Electrical power, water and sanitation. The WHO attributes deficiencies in surgical care and the "explosive rise in the incidence of enteric infections" to the wartime destruction of electrical generating, water and sewage treatment plant. Yet the International Energy Agency reports that Iraq's electricity production increased nearly fourfold from 1980 to 1998, and its per capita electricity supply is now well above Syria's and Morocco's. The World Bank says that 85% of Iraqis had access to improved (formerly called "safe") water sources in 2000, compared with 80% of Syrians and 82% of Moroccans. -- Transport. WHO says that an "acute shortage" of transport vehicles has affected emergency ambulance services and spraying operations to combat mosquitoes and malaria. Once again, other sources provide contradictory data. The International Road Federation records that the number of motor vehicles per 1,000 people increased by 3.6 fold in Iraq from 1990 to 1999, reaching 51 compared with Syria's 30 and Morocco's 52. The number of passenger cars soared to 36 per 1000 in 1999 from 1 in 1990. Iraq's fuel prices at the pump ($0.01 per litre of diesel and $0.03 for super) were the lowest in the world in 2000. This is hardly evidence of a stagnant economy strapped for cash. This evidence should at least raise serious doubts about the case for lifting sanctions on Iraq on humanitarian grounds. Before doing so, the international community should insist that Iraq open the window on its economy, institutions and military activities much wider. Only in this way can Iraq's own people, its friends and other countries really judge whether its present leaders deserve to be treated in the same way as democratic, peace-loving nations. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.